The Portland Police Bureau will see two new policy changes surrounding traffic stops. Advocates for the new police claim it will address racial disparities and an increase in traffic-related deaths in the city.
Officers have been directed to stop pulling drivers over for less serious, non-moving violations and focus on people who are speeding, driving under the influence, or otherwise making other drivers less safe.
Chief Chuck Lovell also directed officers to tell drivers they can declines searches and is now requiring an audio recording of consent for searches, KATU reports.
According to Mayor Ted Wheeler, who serves as the city's police commissioner, both of the changes are in response to data showing a disparate impact on black drivers for traffic stops and vehicle searches.
The data will be tracked and shared in the future. Chief Lovell said he does not expect to see pushback from officers on the streets in regards to the policy changes and noted that the changes don't explicitly prohibit traffic stops for these reasons. Wheeler encouraged officers to embrace the changes, especially given the shrinking numbers in the police force.
We need to acknowledge that the reality that we have a scaled-down bureau, and therefore we need to focus on our top public safety priorities," said Wheeler. "We don’t have the resources at this point to squander on anything other than the important mission of protecting the public’s safety.